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BBDO India creates art that celebrates 44 iconic Indian commercials for Zee Melt

BBDO India created a commissioned piece of art that included scenes from 44 Indian television commercials dating back from the 1970s to the present day for Zee Melt, an advertising and marketing conference held in Mumbai, India.

Over the weekend, the image spread beyond the confines of the Zee Melt, where it was on display and was extensively shared over social media, with people attempting to guess all the ads alluded to.

The commercials featured in the film included popular campaigns from homegrown brands like Bajaj Auto, Flipkart and detergent brand Nirma as well as multinationals like Pepsi, Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Unilever.

Speaking to Mumbrella about how the artwork was conceived, BBDO chairman Josy Paul said: “It began with a conversation I was having with Anant Rangaswami (editor of Melt). He proposed the idea of a poster with hidden clues to the most memorable Indian ads. I jumped at it.

“We gave ourselves the challenge: how do we bring India’s most remembered advertising images into one Indian geographical space? Thus was born this piece of art created by a collaboration of artists from BBDO India and external partners.”

Speaking about the creation process to Mumbrella, BBDO India’s head of production Hitesh Shah said: “We first did research, talking to a lot of people – from the 40 plus to the young – about the visuals they remember from ads they’ve seen over time.

“We were trying to zero in on one iconic visual from each ad. We then determined whether data was available on each of these ads, and focused on the images that were the most recollected.”

According to Shah, the process took over a month, with 10 days taken up by research alone.

Speaking about the look of the ad Shah said “We were initially trying for something that would look like old paintings from Scotland. But given the time frame, we had to go in for a mix of classical and contemporary art. In the end, it worked out really well.” The piece was created by artist Arun Udmale, Subodh and Pavan.   

The reaction to the artwork came as a surprise to the team that put it together. Shah said: “Josy always tells us, ‘put your love into the work and it will speak for itself’. But we didn’t expect it to get this big; we just thought it would be a good piece, at least for the event.

“The after reaction has been a lot better than we expected and I’m thankful to people for picking it up.”

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